It had to have been at least 20 years ago when attending a meeting of the Louisiana Tech Wildlife Club that I first met Phil Robertson who was guest speaker at the event.
As he talked about his up-and-coming duck call business, I recall him, sporting a full beard even then and telling the gathering that he had become such a part of nature that he didn't even own a watch. He also commented that he doesn't keep up with the financial part of his Duck Commander call business; that's his wife's job. He just makes duck calls and shares the Gospel message every chance he gets, he said.
Robertson handed out duck calls to the gathering. I got one and it's a treasure and keepsake because today, Phil Robertson, his brother Si, and sons Willie and Jace have enraptured the nation with their hit reality show, Duck Dynasty.
The show with filming under way for yet another season, has reached out beyond the Robertson's and pulled a few more characters into the cast. I had the opportunity to meet and visit with one of them last week.
His name is Tim; we won't share his last name out of respect for his privacy because he has developed a cult following. He shared with me about folks finding out where he lives in West Monroe and showing up with cameras and asking for autographs at the most inopportune times.
If you watch Duck Dynasty regularly, you'll run across this guy occasionally. On one episode, he was called on to repair the non-working air conditioner on a hot day at the company's duck call assembly building. His slow drawl (nobody I ever heard talks that slow and drawn out) and repeated delays and suggesting to Willie he could work better if he would go get him a grape snow cone, make for some hilarious footage for the show.
I have a weekly radio program each Tuesday on ESPN 97.7 and it just so happens that Mountain Man was in the studio cutting radio commercials about the time my program ended. Long story short, I was able to sit down for a few minutes to conduct and record an interview for the following week's show with this bearded, camo-clad fellow.
ME: We want to welcome you to the show. I understand in real life you work in the air conditioning business.
MM: Yeah……that's….right. I….took….a…..course…..up…..in…..Terre Haute….Indiana….and….learned…..how….to…work…on….air….conditioners.
ME: Tell me, do you actually hunt like the other fellows on Duck Dynasty?
MM: Yeah….I've….got…squirrels…ducks….and doves….in….my….freezer…right….now.
ME: Where do you hunt? Do you have access to a hunting club?
MM: Well…..I….usually….hunt….on….the…..Pos…..Ted…..property. There's…a…sign…that…reads…..Pos-ted….that's…..where….I….hunt. Don't….never….see….nobody….else….there…..so….I…..got…it…all…to…myself.
It is obvious from visiting with the Mountain Man that the Robertson clan has found someone cut from their own cloth who fits right in with the zany episodes millions of viewers get to experience each week.
I get the feeling that if Willie makes sure Mountain Man has access to an occasional grape snow cone, the air conditioner in the Duck Commander headquarters will continue to be in fine working order.
And as Uncle Si would say, "Hey, you can take that to the bank…Jack."
(You can hear Mountain Man live each week on the Mountain Man and Patrick Show every Monday afternoon from 3:00 until 6:00, and on Tuesday nights from 6:00 to 7:00 on the Southern Outdoors Show, both airing on KXKZ 107.5.).